Archives: May, 2008

Guitar Hero!

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Over Spring Break I became somewhat obsessed with Guitar Hero. But being that I’m a frugal guy (well, rather I have no money at the moment), I couldn’t afford a real guitar. So I decided to build my own for the PC version!

Initially, I toyed around with just a normal keyboard. But there were a number of problems: the ideal place for the frets is the F1-5 keys, however there’s a nasty gap between F4 and F5 that makes hitting orange notes difficult. Additionally, there aren’t optimal buttons to strum on. So, I decided I wanted to build a custom solution. I taped one of my old keyboard and my Speedpad to a board, attached a bit of string for the shoulder strap, and my first iteration was done. While crude and extremely ugly, it worked. The speedpad worked marvelously for frets. However, I wasn’t able to strum very well on fast songs, as I have to press buttons rather than move the strum bar (still haven’t fixed this).

I decided I wanted to make my solution a little less makeshift. I wanted it to look nice as well. So, I drew up a quick plan: I’d take apart the keyboard, create a body, then make the whole thing look nice. I decided on a Flying V type design, but the proportions are quite off due to the size of the keyboard. Here’s some WIP shots of attaching the styrofoam body to the wooden frame:

Gluing the back

Another shot, old keyboard bezel in the background

“V” pieces waiting to be attached.

Some of the keys that were removed from the keyboard

After the glue has dried. The black thing is the keyboard stripped of keys

After gluing everything together, I was quite happy with the design. But it was still rather ugly, and it needed some sort of finish. Since I had ample amounts of Aluminim tape, I decided to coat the guitar in the tape to create a chrome-esque finish. Here’s some shots of the final result:

The guitar in its entirety.

SpeedPad is attached with screws for easy removal (I still need it to play other games).

Detail of the two strum keys

Ta-da! It plays quite well, though its still hampered by the lack of the ability to strum up and down. It makes quick notes hard, but if I use two fingers (ie pointer and middle) it works out fine. The closer (and more responsive) frets make it easier to play on than most other guitars. It’s pretty sweet!

Here’s a final shot with my guitar along with my whole setup.

Bush poster is a joke, see here.

Political Compass

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

First of all, I know this site is really old news. I probably first took the survey 3-4 years ago. However when I took it last week, I was a bit surprised by the results. Apparently, in the last couple years, I’ve grown more and more radical. I remember previously scoring a -1 Left and -2 Libertarian. Well, to my shock I now score a -6 Left -5.5 Libertarian!

Cuttlefish's Political Compass

I guess my high school education has pushed me farther and farther left! Exciting!

Dismaying though is this chart of the 2008 presidential nominee seekers.

2008 Presidential Primary candidates

Look at all thos democrats up in the I quadrant =(. At least Kucinich, Gravel, and I are chillin’ in the III quadrant. You can also quickly tell how unusual Ron Paul is, as he’s farther Libertarian than the core democrats.


Sunday, May 25th, 2008

(Again, outdated. Got deleted for some reason)

The ALMS field is shaping up, and it actually doesn’t look too bad!

Audi is back, though most likely with only one car for the majority of the rounds. Peugeot will be at Sebring, and from looking and testing times, they might give Audi a run for their money. Autocon will be back with their crap (though pretty) Creation, and Intersport will return with their aging Lola. Audi should sweep the championship unless they break down (which is unlikely given their pedigree). If we’re lucky, we’ll also get the closed top Lola Aston Martin at Sebring along with the factory Creation car.

My favorite? The Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP, even if its only doing Sebring and Petit.
Peugeot HDI-FAP

Again, the P2 field will be absolutely packed! At least 4 Porsches, 4 Acuras, 1 Radical, and the Lola-Mazda! I expect Penske will take more overall wins this year, though hopefully the revised Acura can give them a run for their money. There’s tlak of a closed-top P2 Lola in europe, and there may be a P2 Zytek at Sebring.

My favorites: The underdog Lola-Mazda (beautiful):

2nd Favorite: The Highcroft Acura (brilliant paint scheme this year!)
Highcroft Acura

Rather boring this year. Corvette is back with only one car for most rounds. There is competition in the form of a DBR9, but it was way off the pace at the Sebring test, so don’t expect much. Hopefully the Doran-Lista Maserati will make another appearance. There’s also still rumors of the ACEMCO Saleens being sold to someone here.

Favorite: Well, I hate Corvette, and the DBR9 sucks, so I’ll go with last year’s Maserati
Doran-Lista Maserati

The field should be packed this year with a whole bunch of other weird things! Rumors point to 5 ferraris (2 Tafel, 2 Risi/Krohn, and 1 Corsa), 6 Porsches (3 Lizards, 1 Farnbacher, 1 Vici), 3 Ford GTs (UGLY AS SIN), 1 Corvette, 1 Panoz, 1 Viper, and 1 Vantage GT2! Expect Risi to dominate again, but I hope the Aston Martin can give them a run for their money, it’s a pretty car (see below). Also to note is that BMW will be back in 2009, with Rahal running M3s.

Favorite: The Aston Martin. I just hope its fast
Aston Martin GT2

So, it should be an exciting season in P2 and GT2, but there’s potential for excitement in P1 and GT1 at the big events, especially with some European competition!

College Application Results!

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

In approximate list of desirability.

School Location Accepted?
Stanford University Palo Alto, CA No
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Priority Wait Listed (Withdrew)
Cornell University Ithaca, NY No
Harvery Mudd College Claremont, CA No
California Institute of Technology Pomona, CA No
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY Yes (Attending)
Oregon State University Corvallis, OR Yes

Update 3/29:
No Stanford. While I didn’t expect to get it, it was still my dream school (literally, I had a couple dreams about the campus!). I’ll hear from Cornell on Monday, very excited for that!

Update 3/31:
No Cornell or Harvey Mudd, and priority wait listed at Carnegie Mellon. I still feel pretty good about the Mellon, as I can apply to different sub-colleges, and I’m on the priority wait list. And, things always seem to turn out pretty good for me! Regardless of what happens, I’ll have Rensselaer to fall back on, and they’ve given a me a TON of money, so that’s still a very good option. Though its last on my list (OSU doesn’t count), I still regard it pretty highly and would still like to go there!

Update 4/1:
I took a virtual tour of the RPI campus using Google StreetView and Microsoft Live Local. It looks nice! And bigger than I thought. I also checked out their full list of clubs, and needless to say, I’m quite excited about their DDR club. Lots of fun things to do at Rensselaer! I think I’ve successfully rationalized not being accepted anywhere else.

Update 4/27:
After visiting both Rensselaer and Carnegie Mellon, I decided I liked RPI much better. As such, I’ve withdrawn from the CMU wait list, and have alerted RPI that I intend to attend! I’m very excited, and can’t wait for the fall!

Mr. Spartan

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Somehow, I lost some posts from my blog. Reposting them now…

I’ve had a really exciting last couple of weeks, and I figure its about time to try and catch up!

First, Mr. NWOC! Or actually, I suppose I need to talk about Mr. Spartan first!

The entire Mr. NWOC process began in February after Cami pressured me into becoming a candidate for Mr. Spartan. The whole Mr. * program is a fundraiser for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. I campaign for Mr. Spartan by selling KrispyKreme donuts during lunch. I ended up making about $150 dollars for the cause, an amount I was quite proud of.

On March 8th, the Mr. Spartan pageant was held at Hilhi. The pageant consisted of Spirit Wear, a Talent, an Endorsement, a Trivia question, and a short answer question. For spirit wear, I went all-out and wore a suit with a blue tie and a corny Spartan helmet thing. I explained that my blue and white tie was color symbolism that represented the boldness and audacity of the Hilhi student while the helmet signified our fighting spirit. Yep, I think I read far too into the “describe your spirit wear” question.

The second event was the trivia question. Which I failed horribly. My question was “Name the president and vice president of the student body”. I was able to name Cami Tran as the president, but completely forgot about vice president Austyn. Sorry Austyn! I pointed out to the crowd that 50% on the IB scale would be a 5 out of 7, which is a very good score.

Next, it was time for talents! For my talent, I chose to do a couple DDR songs. Other talents performed included singing, dancing, comedy, gymnastics, and rapping. But I can’t do any of those things, so I did some DDR! It started out wonderfully. I chose Twilight Zone (apparently a crowd pleaser) and passed the song easily. But for my second song, I chose Afronova! I forgot that on heavy there’s a very hard section about half-way through the song. I failed after my pad kept slipping around under me. OH WELL.

After talents, it was time for endorsements. About 3 hours earlier, I alerted my dad that I’d need someone to endorse me. He prepared a quick speech, and man was it amazing! He started off by talking about how I resembled a spartan. Except that (as he said) I didn’t really, as the Spartans were strong, fearless warriors, and I most clearly was not. According to him, I spent much of my time on a computer killing Warlocks in WoW. I was pretty amused by this point, and a bit embarrassed. But my dad continued, illustrating how the Spartans of today would use technology, and how I used technology to my advantage often. He summed up many of my accomplishments and even threw in a bit about the War in Iraq. Needless to say, it was absolutely amazing. I think it was my dad’s endorsement that really enabled me to win!

Lastly was the short answer question. I forgot exactly what I was asked, but I talked about Politics or something. Regardless, it went quite well.

The 9 of us who were competing for Mr. Spartan stood up on stage. First, the runners up were announced. I didn’t win 4th. I didn’t win 3rd. I didn’t win 2nd. By this point, I was pretty expectant that I was going to win. And sure enough, Cami read my name off the ballot. I was completely blown away by the whole thing. I received a scepter (pimp staff), a crown, and a sash!

Winning Mr. Spartan meant that I was able to compete at the next level in the Mr. NWOC pageant! A summary of the Mr. NWOC pageant is the next item on my list of things to blog, so check back soon!